It’s a Monday afternoon in the office and I’m sitting at my desk reminiscing the weekend that’s past. That smile on my 17 month baby girl’s face when we torpedoed her around the pool. The big hug she gave me before I left home for work this morning. That “I just want to sit here and sniff your head for days” thought, as I gave her one last kiss.
Yes I love being a mom. It’s back-breaking work but I love it. In fact, we plan to have one more. Another little being I know I will lose sleep taking care of. Another one I will strive to parent to the best of my ability and help to mould into a thoughtful, caring little person.
But I’m not a mom.
Not just a mom, anyway. I’m actually a lot more than that.
I have a day job that I’m good at. The job pays me well and most days I enjoy my career. Outside of work, I have a great group of friends who I hang out regularly with. We go back a long way and although some of us are parents now, we still try to do irresponsible things often involving alcohol when we get together - it makes us feel young.
No, I don’t define myself as a mother.
I’m a person who has goals and dreams of my own beyond children and motherhood.
Izzy is a huge part of my life, but she’s not my life. When she’s 18 and has her own life set out before her with all its sparkling possibilities, I’ll be (gasp) 54 years old and I’ll still have my own career, friends and irresponsible moments.
I am lucky in that I have help with Izzy in the form of daycare, a domestic helper and her indulgent grandparents. But like other mothers in society, I face the expectation to be “Mom” all the time. Mothers are supposed to always be there for their children and understand what mumbling toddlers are saying. “Mom” must not cringe when changing baby diapers and we must remember the colour of baby’s poop from last Tuesday.
I try but I really cannot make out what Izzy is saying most of the time. And with help, I only have poop duties once a week when the helper is on leave.
Next weekend we are going to Hong Kong on a holiday and no we are not bringing Izzy. In fact, dare I admit that she still doesn’t have her passport. I don’t blame people for asking though, because like I mentioned, there’s always going to be that expectation that “Mom”’ is there ALL. THE. TIME.
To be brutally honest, it would just be too difficult bringing a toddler out to champagne brunch or a Michelin-starred restaurant.
I don’t like how it’s a bonus if men happen to be great dads. On top of the expectation that men, regardless of whether or not they are fathers, are encouraged and expected to have ambitions of their own.
I guess the reason for this post is to reaffirm to myself that not making my life all about my child (hopefully children soon) will benefit them in the long run. They will have a well-rounded mother they can look up to as a role model and not only because I’m a good mom. They, in turn, will grow up as people who don’t feel pressured to define themselves in narrow terms.
We raise our daughters to be articulate and goal-oriented. We teach them they can be anything they want to be in life. But we sometimes don’t afford ourselves the same privilege.
We are women who happen to be moms, and so much more.